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Former Premier League star comes out of 10-year retirement aged 44 and first game will be derby dubbed ‘the big one’

A FORMER Premier League star is making a return to the beautiful game almost 10 years after he retired.

Reading cult hero Dave Kitson has signed for Sunday League outfit Caversham United.

Dave Kitson has signed for Caversham United

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Dave Kitson has signed for Caversham UnitedCredit: X/CavershamUnited
Kitson is a Reading legend

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Kitson is a Reading legendCredit: Getty

Caversham, who are known as the Goats, have signed the 44-year-old former pro ahead of a huge derby.

Kitson is expected to grace the Mapledurham Playing Fields pitch for the first time against Rose and Thistle FC.

The clash is coined the “Mapledurham Derby” with both sides playing their home games on the same playing fields in Reading and has previously been dubbed as “the big one”.

Caversham have signed the Premier League icon as part of the Sunday League Day campaign with their clash with Rose and Thistle falling on the day of the event.

And The Goats are hoping to raise some money from the spectacle by encouraging fans to donate a notional “ticket price” to Prostate Cancer UK as part of the club’s “Balls to Cancer” shirt sponsor.

Kitson himself has previously been involved with Caversham United having coached both the men’s and women’s squads.

Fans online have loved the surprise Sunday League addition and took to social media to share their opinions.

One wrote: “Surely this is the biggest signing in Sunday league history!”

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While another added: “Things you love to see!”

And derby opponents Rose and Thistle, who were born out of a local pub in 2018, made it clear they’re up for the challenge of facing the Royals legend.

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Their official X account posted: “The Rose are up for the challenge and are ready for this fight in this one of a kind Mapledurham Derby!”

Back in his playing days Kitson was part of the first ever Reading side to earn promotion into the Premier League in 2006.

He made 159 appearances for the Madejski outfit including 47 in the Premier League.

The towering target-man also had brief spells at Stoke City, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Sheffield United before hanging up his boots in 2014 after one season with Oxford United in League Two.

Since retiring Kitson has kept Reading close to his heart and has been outspoken about the current state of the League One strugglers.

He also spends time helping the local community in Reading including coaching Reading Blue Coat School first XI which has reached a national final for the first time in the school’s history.

While he heads up his own academy named ‘The Dave Kitson Academy’ and is chairman of Arlesey Town FC who play their football in the ninth tier of English football.

Kitson helped Reading earn promotion to the Premier League for the first time

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Kitson helped Reading earn promotion to the Premier League for the first timeCredit: Getty
The centre-forward is a cult hero in Reading

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The centre-forward is a cult hero in ReadingCredit: Getty

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